Study Guide

Windigo Stanza 2

By Louise Erdrich

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Stanza 2

Lines 6-10

In the hackles of dry brush a thin laughter started up.
Mother scolded the food warm and smooth in the pot
and called you to eat.
But I spoke in the cold trees:
New one, I have come for you, child hide and lie still.

  • "Thin laughter" "in the hackles of a dry brush"? This is getting seriously creepy. 
  • While it may seem like a minor detail, we must note here the reference to food and eating, which are integral aspects of the Windigo's identity. The Windigo is said to have been born out of the long, dark winters of the Great Lakes region—a product, in part, of starvation and famine. 
  • It seems that the mother, preoccupied with her cooking, doesn't seem to get the clue that something is awry.
  • But while she does not hear the voice of the Windigo, "little one" certainly can. 
  • We now know for sure that the "you" in the poem is, in fact, a young child. 
  • Note the internal rhyme, slant rhyme, and consonance at the end of the last line. "Child," "hide," and "lie" are all slant rhymes that kind of rhyme, but they also occur within a single line, so we get to call them internal rhymes, as well. Finally, in repeating the L sound in the words "child," "lie," and "still," Erdrich closes the stanza with a flowing case of consonance. 
  • Check out "Form and Meter" and "Sound Check" for more on how this poem's put together.

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